Green with envy
Gazillionaires need eco-friendly options too
By Jennifer Hadley 04/21/2011
While I cry a little every time I go to the gas station these days, with gas prices officially nearly 30 percent higher than they were at the same time last year, it’s good to know that the 5.6 percent increase in gas prices in March alone doesn’t have this same effect on everyone. But my misery is of my own doing since choosing to drive an SUV. And now, even if I wanted to purchase a hybrid, I couldn’t afford a more environmentally friendly car.
Suffice to say, I’m a bit jealous of those who aren’t quite so affected by the spike in gas prices and the consequential inflation. Moreover, the older I get, the more eco-conscious (though I’m not so grandiose to say eco-friendly) I become. So, yes, hybrid owners make me green with envy. And apparently for all of the differences I have with extremely affluent people, it appears that we share this envy — or at least luxury car makers are banking on this assumption.
Indeed, the very wealthy and eco-conscious folks of the world may soon be able to enjoy the benefits of helping to reduce their carbon footprint, all while refusing to compromise their discerning tastes. From Ferrari to Aston Martin, luxury automakers appear to be shifting into eco-friendly mode with new concept hybrids, experimental plug-ins, and even luxury cars made from lighter materials in efforts to become more fuel efficient and less harmful to the environment.
Porsche, for example, is offering a second hybrid, the Panamera S Hybrid, and plans to build and sell a third, the 918 Spyder, currently a concept car with a price tag that could easily cover the yearly salaries of quite a few teachers.
Ferrari is kicking around the 599 HY-KERS concept, a gasoline-electric hybrid concept for the extremely wealthy sports car enthusiast — oops, I mean environmental champion.
Lamborghini is going in a different direction, toying with making a car made almost wholly from carbon, making it extremely lightweight and ostensibly more fuel efficient. Should this concept car, coined the Sesto Elemento, make it to the market, it will no doubt cost a pretty penny.
Not to be outdone by lack of innovation, Rolls Royce has unveiled the 102EX, an experimental plug-in which supposedly has the largest car battery on the planet. Of course, they haven’t said they have any plans to build this electric Phantom, but they still want you to know that they do care about the environment.
Bentley apparently can’t be bothered with producing anything as bourgeois as a hybrid, so instead they plan to make sure that by 2012 all of their cars can run on E85 ethanol, which is of course, very accessible, and you probably won’t even need to take your private jet very far to purchase gallons of it.
Luckily though, Aston Martin has stepped up to the plate to offer a luxury hybrid that is perhaps a bit more affordable, though still well outside of my price range. Oh, and the Cygnet is basically a Toyota-cum-Scion here in the United States. But still, at about $50,000, as a subcompact, it supposedly boasts Aston Martin upgrades and is quite the fuel-efficient little devil.
Alas, even though I can barely afford gas for my very non-luxurious and non-environmentally friendly mode of transport, it’s good to know that those who can afford alarmingly high gas prices can still do their part to reduce emissions.
And for those who are already doing their part to reduce emissions while choosing to own or buy a fiscally responsible car, you hereby have my permission to be smug, because your commitment to going green is a lot more attractive than being green with envy, like I am.
Contact Jennifer Hadley at firstname.lastname@example.org.